Interviews with Jill
 

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Jill Felber is a Miyazawa performing artist and was recently featured in an interview, posted on their website, and has been duplicated here as well.

JILL FELBER has been hailed for her "beautifully finished performances" by The Detroit News and has been praised by Musical America for her "handsome performance." The British journal PAN writes, "Felber was stunning...not only refined but also full of fun." "The incredible flutist...the dazzling flutist...the radiant flutist Jill Felber" (The Independent, Santa Barbara), is known to excite audiences everywhere in concerts and recitals "played with flair" (The Los Angeles Times). "The outstanding American flutist Jill Felber" (Gazeta Rybnicka, Poland) is acclaimed worldwide for her "consummate musicianship" (Fanfare).

Ms. Felber has performed solo recitals, chamber music, and concertos on four continents and has held residencies in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, Mexico, France, Switzerland, Great Britain, Italy and the United States. Also a tireless promoter of new music, Ms. Felber has inspired many composers to write solo and chamber works for her and for her flute duo ZAWA!, and is currently engaged in several commissioning projects. She has premiered over three hundred works for the flute and has released world premiere recordings for Centaur Records, CRI, Neuma Records, and ZAWA!MUSIC.

In demand as a guest clinician because of her extraordinary motivational teaching style, Felber is currently Professor of Flute at the University of California, Santa Barbara and performs as Principal Flute with Opera Santa Barbara. Holding degrees from University of Michigan and Bowling Green State University, Ms. Felber has taught on the faculties of Ohio University, Capital University, and Wright State University. Her teachers include Keith Bryan, Judith Bentley, Samuel Baron, and James Galway.

We had the opportunity to ask Jill a few questions. Take a look at her thoughts on balancing a teaching & performing career, advantages to teaching at a college as well as advice for upcoming flutists.


1. What's the most important thing to teach an upcoming flutist/student?

Awareness and Accountability: To be your own best teacher

My goal with students is to stress issues of technical and aesthetic awareness so he/ she can accept responsibility for his/her own progress. My hope is that the flutists with whom I work feel they have the tools when they leave to become his/her own best teacher.  The perception and awareness skills have to be refined before the ability to achieve will improve. When the parameters for refinement are understood and embraced, much can be accomplished.


2. Why did you choose to play the flute?

I began with piano lessons, but I wanted to participate in the public school band program, which included an impressive summer band program.  My older sister played the flute and sometimes it was out of the case and on her bed, so I had the opportunity to try it out a little. I enjoyed the silvery and shiny visual characteristics and the sparkling and enticing tonal qualities of the flute.  Having an instrument that was easily transportable and one that could be play outside also factored into my choice.


3. What are the advantages/disadvantages of being a college flute professor compared to a full-time orchestral player?

Teaching flute is a very gratifying profession. It is fulfilling to have an impact on young musicians who are beginning careers in the field.  As a university professor, I can combine my performing career with my teaching career.  Working in a research institution (University of California, Santa Barbara), I have the flexibility, resources and grant money to tour, record, perform chamber music, and generate new works with the commissioning consortiums to which I belong. My job is personally adjustable. I can determine when I work, the music I wish to play and record, the musicians with whom I would like to work, and the students I wish to teach.


4. How do you balance your teaching & performing career on top of all of your university-related responsibilities?

This is a very interesting week to answer this question…the perfect storm has hit!
I am completing the 36 letters of recommendation that are on my desk (with individual forms that have to be completed), preparing for a tour to North Carolina School of the Arts and University of Miami, teaching a full week of lessons (including preparing 5 flutists for our university concerto competition), editing a CD project, reading and evaluating files for a faculty search at my university, organizing two events for the Department of Music at the university (the concerto competition and a scholarship/benefit concert), conducting a phone interview with a newspaper, organizing master classes with guest artists to the university, and answering numerous emails to prospective students about our program and about the audition process at UCSB! That’s what’s ON TOP of my desk. I won’t tell you what’s in the “TO DO” file inside the desk!

In addition to the above projects, quite a bit of time is dedicated to university activity that is not related specifically to the flute with weekly faculty and committee meetings (and preparation for these meetings).  Just as in college, I have to schedule my practice time into my day, otherwise it won’t happen.

Weekends are perfect for short tours.  The breaks between terms (quarters) provide excellent opportunities to be away and to engage in creative activities with colleagues outside the university.  I rely on summers to accept opportunities to join festivals and summer institutes, where I can also perform and teach. 


5. How did you come to choose Miyazawa as your flute of choice?

I had known many professional flutists who played Miyazawa flutes. My flute duo partner (Claudia Anderson from ZAWA!) was playing a Miyazawa flute when we established our duo.  I was struck by the colors that were possible and also struck by the versatility and flexibility that could be achieved with the instrument. I wanted a Miyazawa flute! I immediately bought a Boston Classic GS and then bought a gold Boston Classic.  Recently, I purchased a Brogger System Platinum flute with gold keys.
 

6. If you had one piece of advice to give for an upcoming flutist, what would you tell them?

Imagine… believe… and don’t lose sight of your dream and of the joy of playing the flute!